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A Short History Of Rugs

Posted on July 28, 2012 by Susan Brouwer

The origin of oriental carpets has been attributed to the nomadic tribes originating in Central Asia. The earliest carpet, the famous Pazryk Carpet (seen below), which was


discovered in a Siberian burial site, is more than 2,500 years old (note how well the intricate design has held up - a tribute to the craft and construction of handmade rugs). It is generally accepted that the special craft was developed simultaneously in different parts of the world, probably around the same period of time and spread throughout the world by nomadic tribes. Since then, carpet weaving has been a mainstay in countries such as Persia (Iran), Egypt, Turkey, China, Pakistan, and India, and in more recent times Tibet and Nepal.

Carpet weaving was a craft of many nomadic tribes and developed because of the need for protection from the elements. The Kazak design (seen below - our Kazak design 5), is a

perfect example of the nomadic styles of past and present. The geometric designs were easily woven by nomads who migrated throughout the world. Most were woven on horizontal looms that could be easily taken up when the tribes moved from one place to another. A high level of detail that can be achieved with fine yarns and an upright stationary loom. The striated colorations of the tribal rugs also denote the different dyes and wool used as they moved from one place to another and produced the wools and dyes, as they were needed.

The Tabriz, as well as Sarouk, Keshan, Bidjar, Herati and others are designs that are depicted by the actual city where they originated from. So-called "city"rugs, these works of art show exquisite detail due to the fine knotting and quality-controlled materials.

The rugs from each country, and even each region of a country, often have their own unique characteristics of construction and design, which help in their identification. However, in modern times many of these characteristics have been "hybridized" because of the movements of refugee weavers and because many of the Persian designs are being made in other countries such as India and Pakistan with innovations and colors that may not have been used traditionally.

This informative Wikipedia reference on Persian carpet has more on the Pazryk Carpet, as well as history on other rug making periods, materials, designs, and motifs.

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How To Clean An Area Rug

Posted on July 28, 2012 by Josh Wiesenfeld

Handmade rugs are highly durable and usually very easy to clean. Often a spill or dirt can be spot cleaned by yourself without the need for special profesional rug cleaning. If you have spilled water on your rug, don't worry as it won't harm the rug, just blot it dry with a cloth towel.

Spot-cleaning your rug

To spot-clean a spill, dirt or other material out of your rug, you will need warm water and a cloth towel. Simply wet the towel in the water and blot the area clean. You may need to change the water once or twice. You will know the area is clean when the water you squeeze out of the rag is clean. 

Depending on what has dirtied the rug, you may consider waiting for it to dry, so that much of it can be vacuumed off before blotting it clean (See our related rug care article that discusses specific time sensitive issues such as cleaning pet pee out of a rug as soon as possible, and avoiding prolonged dampness).

Vacuuming your rug

In almost all instances, regular vacuuming of an oriental rug with an electric vacuum cleaner is good for the rug, however if not done properly, damage can occur, particularly to the fringe. A dirty rug wears prematurely, and regular vacuuming helps prevent dirt on the surface of the rug from filtering down into the pile where it can accumulate and cause increased wear on the foundation of the rug. Still, be careful with a cleaner equipped with a power brush or "beater bar"; these powered brushes in the vacuum head help the vacuum do a good job on machine-made carpeting, but they cause a raking effect on the top layer of a handwoven rug's pile if used too strenuously. If your vacuum cleaner has a power brush, use it only occasionally and lightly on your oriental rug. For routine cleaning, use just the vacuum attachment designed for hard floors. Frequently fringes get caught and chewed up by the rotating mechanism of the brush. If you pull the vacuum backwards over the fringe (away from the rug), the fringe will not be caught by the power head of the vacuum. 

You may have noticed that your handmade rug has a "direction" to the fibers -they are trained in one direction. Because of this you will see a slightly different sheen when looking at it from different sides. Because of this direction the fibers take, it is best to vacuum first one direction, then the other to insure that the vacuum remove debris effectively.

A short list of "Dont's"
  • Don't use solvents or cleaners on your rug as even natural cleaners may alter the colors of your rug.
  • Don't rub or scrub the rug as this may damage the fibers. Instead blot the area by pressing downward. 
  • Don't use paper towels. Although they won't harm your rug, they they may leave particles behind. 
  • Don't vacuum forward over the "fringe" of your rug - the loose yarns that stick out from two sides of a rug - the vacuum may damage these fringes or pull them from the rug. If you need to clean the fringe, pull the vacuum backwards over the fringe (away from the rug), the fringe will not be caught by the power head of the vacuum.
Professional rug cleaning

We recommend having your rug hand washed by a professional only if it is actually dirty, or every couple years. This will clean out the debris particles that may have gotten deep down into the pile where it can accumulate and cause increased wear on the foundation of the rug. This is a specialized process just for handmade rugs. We can refer you to a handwashing service, which is the recommended method for cleaning any good, wool rug. Your rugs will come back to you feeling soft, colors brightened, and clean. Feel free to send us a note with the size of your rug and where you live. We will respond with instructions on where to take your rug or send it via UPS, and an approximate price.

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How To Store An Oriental Rug

Posted on July 23, 2012 by josh 2

When storing a handmade oriental rug, we recommend rolling it up (see our article on How To Roll A Rug), and wrapping it in a tough synthetic paper like "Tyvek"® or construction paper. Don't use newspaper or common brown wrapping paper. These materials are not chemically stable (they are usually quite acidic), and do not provide the protection from insects or moisture the stored rug needs. Make sure the rug is completely dry. Don't use moth balls or flakes--these materials have little repellent effect, and the odor they impart to the rug can be difficult to remove.

Tips For Storage
  • Store your rug in a cool, dry place, such as a closet.
  • Store your rug in a clean dark place, as direct sunlight over a long period of time can fade a rug.
  • Store your rug out of reach of rodents. 
  • Remove your rug and shake it out every so often and inspect it. You may like to keep it out for awhile to air it out. When folding it and re-roll it again, do so in a different way (not along the exact same creases) so that it doesn't retain the same "memory shape."

When your rug has been stored for a long period of time, and you are ready to have it out again, you may consider getting it professionally cleaned, which will be like a spa for the fibers of your rug. Your rug will come back to you feeling soft, colors brightened, and clean (see Our Services).

See all our Rug Care recommendations!

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